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Wittgenstein and Natural Religion$
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Gordon Graham

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198713975

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198713975.001.0001

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Wittgenstein, James, and Frazer

Wittgenstein, James, and Frazer

(p.115) 7 Wittgenstein, James, and Frazer
Wittgenstein and Natural Religion

Gordon Graham

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns to the topic of Wittgenstein’s documented interest in William James and J.G. Frazer. It considers sympathetically, but critically, some recent attempts to make Wittgenstein’s relatively brief Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough the basis for a Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion that is significantly different from those considered in previous chapters. Chapter 18 of James’s lectures on the Varieties of Religious Experience is considered in detail. The chapter argues for the centrality of action in religion and, hence, the importance of philosophy of action in the philosophy of religion. It concludes by considering the distinctive form that action takes in religion.

Keywords:   William James, J.G. Frazer, ceremony, magic, ritual

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